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CUPE welcomes report by Federal Advisor on Wait Times

OTTAWA – Canada’s largest union concurs with most of the major findings of a report on wait times by federal advisor, Dr. Brian Postl.

Wait time problems are system problems, so we need to solve them within the public system,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), echoing Dr. Postl. “Our members support sensible improvements within the public system and we hope the Conservative government is listening.”

Dr. Brian Postl’s Final Report of The Federal Advisor on Wait Times contains many key recommendations that favour strengthening the public system over the false quick fix of wait time “guarantees”.

The report calls for, among other things, conducting ongoing research to support benchmarking and operational improvements; adopting modern management practices and innovations in health systems; encouraging more team-based care and fostering cultural change among health professionals and engaging in public education to support the transformation of the health care system.

The report also lists many examples of public sector innovation that are reducing wait times. It calls for gender-based analysis to see how men and women are differently affected by longer wait times, and draws attention to the problem of inadequate health human resources in the public system.

Disappointingly, Dr. Postl includes the conditional use of private, for-profit health services as an option to reduce wait times. The evidence, however, in Canada and around the world, clearly shows that private services cost more and deliver less. Worse, provincial governments are already not reporting on the scope, number and cost of for-profit services. These realities undermine any “advantages” that might theoretically exist.

Moist noted that the Conservative government released the report late on Friday, June 30, before the holiday weekend. The report does not endorse the idea of wait time “guarantees”, the only health care-related plank of the minority Conservative government’s election campaign.

The sensible and evidence-based recommendations in this report just don’t support the Conservative privatization agenda,” Moist said. “The Conservatives must drop the political games around wait times and commit to maintaining and improving our public health care system.”

That’s the only way to ensure the timely access to the public health care system that Canadians cherish,” Moist said.

-30- Contact:

Paul Moist, National President, cell (613) 558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), cell (514) 884-5074; David Robbins CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431